Sunday, October 17, 2004

(post)politics of info(matics)

As a recent article in PMC argues, the coming politics will be one of a battle over 'infomatics' like never before. The Center for the Digital Future has released a new study that includes the following:
"2. The Media Habits Of The Nation Have Changed, And Continue To Change

For the past 50 years, Americans’ time at home has been dominated by television. Increasingly over the last 10 years, Internet users have “bought” their time to go online from the time they previously spent watching television. And, the more experience users have with the Internet, the less television they watch.

“The social impact of such dramatic change could be extraordinarily deep,” Cole said. “What will happen as a nation that once spent an extremely large portion of time in a passive activity (television) transfers increasingly large portions of that time to an interactive activity (the Internet)? This continuing shift will have a broad range of ramifications, probably affecting every aspect of American culture, the economy, politics, and social behavior.”

3. The Credibility Of The Internet Is Dropping

The credibility of information on the Internet was high among users through the first three years of the Digital Future Project, and that credibility remains generally high in Year Four. However, the project found that the high level of credibility for online information began to decline in the third year of this study, and dropped even further in Year Four.

Year Four of the Digital Future Report shows that most users trust information on the Web sites they visit regularly, and on pages created by established media and the government. The information that users don’t trust is on Web sites posted by individuals. Should Americans view online information as being more credible, or less credible, than information from other sources? Do Internet users fully appreciate how to determine the credibility of online information?

5. The “Geek-Nerd” Perception Of The Internet Is Dead

Since the beginning of the Digital Future Project, its studies found that going online did not put the social lives of users at risk. The Internet has little or no impact on time spent with family or friends, or on sleeping, exercising, or most other personal activities (other than watching television). In fact, the Digital Future Project continues to show that Internet users are often more socially active than non-users, and are less alienated from others. And because of e-mail and instant messaging, the Internet has become a useful tool to build relationships; Internet users communicate with others more, not less.

"With the Internet in two-thirds of all American households and three-quarters of citizens defined as Internet users, it seems laughable in 2004 to think that there was a time only a few years ago when the stereotype of the Internet user was the “geek-nerd” who was thoroughly separate and alienated from mainstream society, ” Cole said. “Even more relevant, there were many social critics of the Internet who believed that going online would cause vast and irreparable harm to relationships with family and friends, and would also degrade other personal activities, such as sleep, exercise, and offline interests."

The article is worth reading in its entirety.

On another note, more than you would ever want to know about the shithead Karl Rove may be found here. An excerpt:

"How Rove has conducted himself while winning campaigns is a subject of no small controversy in political circles. It is frequently said of him, in hushed tones when political folks are doing the talking, that he leaves a trail of damage in his wake—a reference to the substantial number of people who have been hurt, politically and personally, through their encounters with him. Rove's reputation for winning is eclipsed only by his reputation for ruthlessness, and examples abound of his apparent willingness to cross moral and ethical lines.

In the opening pages of Bush's Brain, Wayne Slater describes an encounter with Rove while covering the 2000 campaign for the Dallas Morning News. Slater had written an article for that day's paper detailing Rove's history of dirty tricks, including a 1973 conference he had organized for young Republicans on how to orchestrate them. Rove was furious. "You're trying to ruin me!" Slater recalls him shouting. The anecdote points up one of the paradoxes of Rove's career. Articles like Slater's are surprisingly few, yet as I interviewed people who knew Rove, they brought up examples of unscrupulous tactics—some of them breathtaking—as a matter of course.
But an interesting thing happened as I worked on this piece. Early in the summer, as Bush was struggling, even Rove's allies professed to doubt his ability to control the dynamics of the race in view of an unrelenting stream of bad news from Iraq. Several insisted that he was in over his head—with an emphasis that seemed to go deeper than mere professional envy. Yet by August, when attacks by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were dominating the front pages, such comments had become rarer. Then they died away entirely.

If this year stays true to past form, the campaign will get nastier in the closing weeks, and without anyone's quite registering it, Rove will be right back in his element. He seems to understand—indeed, to count on—the media's unwillingness or inability, whether from squeamishness, laziness, or professional caution, ever to give a full estimate of him or his work. It is ultimately not just Rove's skill but his character that allows him to perform on an entirely different plane. Along with remarkable strategic skills, he has both an understanding of the media's unstated self-limitations and a willingness to fight in territory where conscience forbids most others.

Rove isn't bracing for a close race. He's depending on it."

(via Political Theory Daily Review)

Personally I would recommend the PMC article.

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